Obama aims to reduce student debt

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By Andrew Marlan
Mason Times staff writer

Loan repayment plan would ease financial troubles for students.

President Barack Obama announced a plan expected to help over 1.6 million college students with their increasing student loans debt. On Oct. 26, President Obama presented his new executive order plan that he expects to be effective by 2012.

The plan drastically reduces monthly payments for student loans and takes income and family size into consideration. The proposal, Pay As You Earn, will set a cap on the monthly loan payments at a rate of 10 percent of the student’s income and will eliminate all remaining debt after 20 years.

Current high school students and their parents are looking at furthering education to be more practical since the announcement of the proposal.

“In today’s world, going to college is almost a necessity to land any job,” said Claire Lewis, the parent of a Mason High School senior. “But debt plays the greatest factor on (what school) my child will go to. I have five children and finances are all ready tight… I simply can’t afford to send my kid to the university she wants with tuition rising how it is.”

Pay As You Earn promises that the student’s monthly loan payment will not exceed 10 percent of the individual’s discretionary income. This allows students to be able to pay basic living expenses such as food, housing and other bills.

“I know it’s going to be stressful for my parents to put me through college, but I know they’re doing their best,” said Macey Lewis, a senior at Mason High School. “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but paying off student loans with a teacher’s income will be hard. I’m just glad to see the government help out students, especially since (the state of Michigan) has been cutting finances to public universities.”

Lewis’ inspiration to become a teacher sprouted from Beth Bousfield, her band director, who said teaching for her is more of a passion than a career. Bousfield said that Obama’s plan would be “highly beneficial to majors ending at modest incomes.”

“This plan sounds like it will help many good people that wouldn’t have looked at college as a possibility before,” said Bousfield.

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